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From Les Arses to Poo-ee: 11 weird and wonderful Swiss place names

From Les Arses to Poo-ee: 11 weird and wonderful Swiss place names
Photo: Martin Abegglen
To anglophones, these may not sound like the most attractive places in Switzerland. But delve beyond the name and you’ll discover there are plenty of reasons to visit.
Gross
 There’s nothing disgusting about this community on the shore of pretty Lake Sihl in the canton of Schwyz, which often freezes over in winter to make a natural ice rink.
The nearest big town is Einseideln with its stunning Benedictine monastery, which makes an atmospheric location for one of the country’s best Christmas markets each December.
Moron 
This area in the canton of Bern sits on the Moron range within the Swiss Jura and boasts a 30m-tower built by star architect Mario Botta in 2004.
The 360-degree view from the top is far-reaching, taking in the Alps and Mont Blanc to the south and the Vosges and Black Forest to the north. Nothing moronic about that.  
Misery
There was a miserable moment for one farmer in Misery in 2014 when he had a cheese-related disaster in his newly renovated dairy. But other than that, life in this rural village in the canton of Fribourg seems perfectly pleasant, plus it’s just a short hop from the town of Avenches, with its impressive Roman amphitheatre, and the beautiful bilingual town of Morat/Murten. 
Pully (pronounced Poo-ee)

Pretty Pully. Photo: Yves Cosantino
Despite its name, the village of Pully (pronounced Poo-ee) is no stinker.
It has a pretty Old Town, good transport links to central Lausanne down the road and a lovely lakeside location with an open-air Olympic sized pool right next to Lake Geneva.
Egg
In the canton of Zurich, not far from the city itself, lies the sleepy hamlet of Egg. 
The municipality of Egg is made up of three villages: Esslingen, Egg and Hinteregg. Hinteregg means behind Egg, which is a surefire indication that Switzerland’s famous practicality extends to how it names its villages. 

Cunter 
A village in the canton of Graubünden, Cunter makes a great base for winter sports fans as it’s next door to the family-friendly ski resort of Savognin with its wide slopes, toboggan runs and winter hiking trails. 

Wankdorf
 

Photo: The Local
 
A district of the Swiss capital, Bern, Wankdorf is a bustling commercial district with plenty of entertainment.
There’s the Bern Expo centre, the Wankdorf shopping centre and the Stade de Suisse stadium, the home ground of football team Young Boys. 

 
Les Arses
 
Far from being the arse-end of nowhere, this hamlet near Charmey in the Fribourg pre-alps is a scenic little place with a charming 17th century chapel (named Our Lady of Arses). It’s on the route of a number of stunning walks in the area. 
 
Schnottwil
 
A town in the canton of Solothurn, Schnottwil may not be very attractively named but the countryside around it is described by veloland.ch as “some of the most unspoilt and prettiest stretches of country”, making it a great area to explore on foot or two wheels.
 
Bitsch
 

Photo: The Local
 
Poor Bitsch isn’t nearly as bad as it sounds. In fact, this village is a stone’s throw from some of the most stunning sights in the canton of Valais, such as the Aletsch glacier – the longest iceflow in the Alps – and the famous ski town of Zermatt. 
So if someone asks you if you’d like to spend the weekend in the small village of 974 people which sits on the southern slopes of the mountains, simply answer: “Bitsch? Please!”
 
Pratteln
 
On the outskirts of Basel, Pratteln has quite a claim to fame – it’s the site of the oldest proof of human activity on Swiss soil, which dates back 100,000 years.
The village itself originated in the 11th century and is not far from the ruins of the Roman city of Augusta Raurica, now an open-air museum that’s well worth a visit. 
 


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